Drought tolerant plants for California gardens
Kangaroo Paw – Anigozanthos
When it comes to drought tolerant plants, Kangaroo Paw is a standout option. Kangaroo paw is a herbaceous perennial plant with thick grass-like foliage and a unique flowering character. Flowers are fuzzy and range from red, pink, green, yellow and orange. They bloom from mid-spring to early summer and provide excellent color to any garden when planted in groupings. These drought tolerant plants have become a staple in most southwest style gardens.
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
Native to Mediterranean regions, these drought tolerant plants can tolerate dry soil, heat, and cold temperatures down to 15° F. Rosemary is an evergreen shrub that can grow upright or creep along the ground (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’). Its foliage consists of needle like leaves that are green above and white below. The leaves are used for seasoning foods, and its oils are used in perfumes, soaps, and lotions. These drought tolerant plants produce small, blue/purple flowers that attract birds and bees.
Lantana – Lantana montevidensis
Lantana montevidensis is a species of drought tolerant plants that provide excellent ground cover and can survive off minimal water. They produce beautiful purple flower heads almost year round. However, these drought tolerant plants are sensitive to frost and can die back during the winter.
Mexican Bush Sage – Salvia leucantha
Mexican Sage is a medium size shrub with long, narrow, olive green leaves. From late summer until late fall, it produces tall flower spikes with purple calyces and white flowers. Long stems will need to be trimmed to the ground during winter, to encourage new growth. Sage is a very popular group of drought tolerant plants and can come in many different varieties.
Lavender – Lavandula dentata
Lavender is a very popular group of evergreen shrubs and is a signature group of drought tolerant plants in Mediterranean gardens. French lavender has green leaves with lobed margins, creating a braided appearance. Flowers extend 6-8” above the foliage, occur in late winter to early spring, are medium blue-purple, and are very fragrant. These drought tolerant plants are the most vigorous and adaptable species of lavender and can tolerate winter temperatures to 20° F.